Thursday, May 07, 2009
Headlines Thursday 7th May 2009
Damir detained over Aussie embassy threat
Damir Dokic has reportedly been detained after threatening to blow up the Australian embassy in Belgrade over daughter Jelena's revelations about his years of abuse. - He doesn't want lies printed about his family .. so now he backs up his threats with truth. - ed.
Border security boost to fight flood of asylum seekers
Border security is expected to receive a $500 million boost in next Tuesday's federal budget to help stop the flood of refugees.
$70 billion deficit wouldn't happen under Howard: Nelson
It is claimed Australia would never be plunged $70 billion into deficit, if it was still under the watch of John Howard and Peter Costello.
Hells Angels tortured Christopher Wayne Hudson: report
Convicted Melbourne killer Christopher Wayne Hudson was allegedly tortured by Hells Angels before he surrendered to police, it has been reported.
Aussie hotels flood global rankings
Australia's tourism industry may be feeling the pinch from the global recession, but our hotels are gaining international recognition among those still travelling the world.
Miller pleads guilty to ecstasy charges
Former Olympic swimmer Scott Miller has pleaded guilty to supplying ecstasy. Kelly Fedor was at Downing Centre Local Court.
Fire crews tear up road to stop gas leak
Hazmat crews are ripping up part of Parramatta Road in Sydney's inner suburbs to put a stop to a dangerous gas leak.
Three of four prison escapees recaptured
Two more prisoners who escaped from a western Sydney correctional centre last weekend are back......
Murder suspect carves swastika into head
A white man accused of killing two people and raping a third during a January crime spree against......
'No one wants an election over alcopops'
Distillers are stepping up their campaign against the alcopops tax hike, as the Rudd government......
Retail's bounce surprises
If we didn't have a recession, we would have had a rate rise Tuesday.
Jude Law happy with raw tone of 'Holmes'
Actor Jude Law – who plays Holmes' faithful sidekick Dr. Watson in Guy Ritchie's new adaptation of classic detective tale Sherlock Holmes – doesn't think Hollywood writers sexed up the script.
The Daily Telegraph reports:
Youths of Middle Eastern background have become easy pickings for bikie gangs seeking to boost numbers to gain supremacy over rival gangs.
An editorial view:
This blended entity will obviously require a new name, reflecting the colourful heritage of both groups.
We respectfully suggest “Halal’s Angels”. Copyright free.
We’ve already got a “leading paleontologist on climate change”, a “leading politics perfesser on climate change”, a “leading has-been politician on climate change”, a “leading beach fisherman on climate change”, a “leading slightly messed-up perpetual adolescent on climate change” and a “leading grumpy old lady retiree on climate change”, so why not a leading academic legal guy on climate change:
Andrew Macintosh, Australian National University climate law expert …
Climate law. What a very fascinating time it is to be alive.
ABC to Turnbull: be “fairer” to Rudd
An increasingly shrill Kerry O’Brien on the ABC’s 7.30 Report last night asked, pleaded and demanded the Liberals be more “fair” to poor Kevin Rudd, and stop mentioning the “scary” deficit he’s helped to rack up with his reckless spending.
It was astonishing. Here are all O’Brien’s questions last night to Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull. I defy anyone to characterise them other than as the most partisan heckling of Turnbull, and most desperate excuse-making for Kevin Rudd, and I defy O’Brien - who has form for this barracking - to present a single interview he’s done with that is so overwhelmingly hostile, and so demanding of more fairness to the other side:
KERRY O’BRIEN:...Malcolm Turnbull, in your speech today you painted quite a bleak picture of Australia’s future debt levels because of the Rudd Government’s spending to stimulate the economy during the global recession. Are you comfortable that your speech was a fair representation of the facts - no exaggerations, no major sins of omission?
KERRY O’BRIEN: Well, what I’m getting at of course is whether you’re going out of your way to paint the worst picture you can, rather than a balanced picture?
KERRY O’BRIEN: Well I think the point is, whether you are right to lay so much of (the blame for the deficit), as you are, at the door of the Rudd Government, rather than to say a significant portion of this, or a very large portion of the situation Australia is in has landed at our door from global influences?
They’ve chosen: it’s them against “skips”
Of course, the Middle Eastern bikies have a rather broad definition of “skips”. Here’s the Sydney head of Hells Angels, former New Zealander Derek Wainohu:
A spy? Who’d have thought?
You’ll be stunned, amazed and astonished by this speculation in the Sydney Morning Herald, of course:
THE defence officials responsible for a covert inquiry into the relationship between the Defence Minister, Joel Fitzgibbon, and businesswoman Helen Liu believe she has had links with China’s military intelligence agency.
The officials, who are the target of two high-powered inquiries, claim to have raised concerns within the Defence Department that Mr Fitzgibbon was receiving gifts from and living in a Canberra house owned by a woman they believed was connected to the Second Department of the People’s Liberation Army General Staff Headquarters.
The PLA headquarters’ second department is responsible for intelligence collection covering military, political and economic developments outside China.
How unfair to suspect a Chinese businesswoman may be a spy, just because she gives big cash donations to a Labor politician, pays for his trips to China, introduces him to Chinese generals, rents him a house she’s unaccountably decided to buy in Canberra, and is praised for reporting Australian news back to China. Some people are just too suspicious.
Surely our Defence Minister would know if his patrons are dodgy?
Harder when you’re responsible, instead
Candidate Barack Obama criticised President Bush for just ”just airraiding villages and killing civilians”.
The Red Cross now accuses President Obama of just airraiding villages and killing civilians.
How conflicted is the Left now, trying both to back Obama’s killing of villagers but also his easy condemnation of waterboarding terrorists? Bill O’Reilly demonstrates, from around 2.50 (apologies for the poor quality video):
Paying for Rudd’s mistakes
The Rudd Government splashes out $23 billion in free cash handouts alone - only it turns out they weren’t “free” at all:
Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner yesterday revealed the Government was expecting to have to pay up to $3 billion a year in interest to service the debt.
The Rudd Government reassured voters it would deliver a “sock-the-rich” Budget - only it turns out it needs to sock us all to pay its debts :
THE financial pain in next week’s budget will be spread among all Australians after Kevin Rudd concluded taxing the rich alone would barely make an impact in stemming the dramatic collapse in government revenue caused by the global slowdown.
The Rudd Government claimed it had to put billions in people’s pocket to save jobs - only it turns out it must now take billions out of people’s pockets to pay for its promises:
Charities face a crackdown on payment of fringe benefits tax, and drinkers and smokers are also likely to be targeted in measures that could raise up to $1 billion as the Government seeks to rein in a record deficit… They have strongly hinted they would clamp down on so-called middle-class welfare, refusing to rule out means tests on taxpayer-funded rebates for holders of private health insurance. On Monday, Mr Rudd pointedly refused to guarantee that he would deliver his 2007 election promise of non-means-tested rebates on childcare expenses. And the Government confirmed yesterday it would halve the amount of money wealthy people could sacrifice into superannuation...
Why would you believe a word these people said?
Big Oil to the rescue
The BBC reports:
An expedition team which set sail from Plymouth on a 5,000-mile carbon emission-free trip to Greenland have been rescued by an oil tanker.
The publishers who rejected Plimer’s bestseller
Professor Ian Plimer‘s Heaven and Earth - a book sceptical of global warming theory - has been an instant bestseller, already selling 20,000 copies in just a fortnight.
Some have wondered how it came to be published by a small Melbourne firm, Connor Court Publishing, and critics (such as the ABC’s Fran Kelly) have hinted that it’s to Plimer’s discredit.
In fact, the discredit belongs entirely to the bigger publishers who turned down the book, so sure of their faith in global warming that they were unable or unwilling to see there was a big market of sceptics desperate to hear the other side of a debate that the mainstream media had insisted for years was “over” and “settled”.
Here is a list of the publishers who turned down Plimer’s book, even though he already had a proven record of success, having produced best-sellers such as Telling Lies for God (Random House, around 23,000 copies) and A Short History of Planet Earth (ABC Books, around 16,000 copies), which won him a Eureka Prize:
- ABC Books
- Random House
- Allen and Unwin
- East Street
Here’s the latest book Allen and Unwin chose to publish on global warming instead:
The Clean Industrial Revolution…
The race is on to find ways to reduce our impact on the environment. Ben McNeil shows us how we can make the most of our natural advantages and how Australia businesses can benefit economically when adapting to the new environmental realities.
‘A passionate and informative demonstration of how mitigating climate change can be compatible with economic growth’ - Professor Ross Garnaut, the Garnaut Climate Change Review
Heard of it?
Here’s the latest global warming title published by East Street:
Cool Hunting Green
By Dave Evans…
This, the second book in the Cool Hunting series, recognises the hottest designs right now are those that promote a cleaner, greener and more beautiful planet. Designers all over the world are hailing ‘green’ as the new ‘black’ and taking up the call to reduce, reuse and repurpose existing resources in their products to inspire a greener world.
Detecting a pattern already?
Here, now, is how Random House, a ”carbon aware business”, describes its “green policy”:
At Random House Australia we believe that, like all businesses, we need to examine and assess our environmental impact… We encourage our employees to support our local community, treasure our local environment and behave responsibly within society at large.
Here are three pages of titles Random House published recently that come up when you type “climate change” in its search function. Here’s the three pages of Random House titles you get when you search for “global warming”. Not one, you’ll see, puts the sceptical case.
And here’s the three pages of book and DVD titles that ABC Books offers on climate change - only one of which, a foreign-published DVD, argues (at last!) against the alarmism.
Debate? How lucky you are to have it.
Prius only half as pious
Driving a Prius is meant to advertise your goodness. Now it may just advertise your credulity:
Seattle has outfitted more than a dozen Toyota Prius hybrids with new plug-in technology to squeeze even better fuel efficiency from the eco-wonder.
City officials were intrigued by data suggesting ... would routinely see 100 mpg using readily available battery packs installed in the trunk… (But) having racked up some 17,000 miles, the plug-in Prius hybrids are averaging just 51 mpg. That’s raising uncomfortable questions about the value and effectiveness of plug-in technology, even as President Obama pledges to have 1 million of them on the road by 2015.
Rudd: all spin, no traction
I should have linked to this yesterday. The Australian has finally had enough of this Prime Minister of Spin:
There is certainly no denying that the Prime Minister is a duke of duchessing, able to charm all sorts of potential allies. Before the last election, he was an economic conservative but when the economic winds shifted, he reset his sails as a supporter of a Whitlamesque big-spending state. At the 20/20 Summit in April last year, he won the love of opinion leaders by listening intently to their opinions, but he has done very little with them. He used the same strategy in the lead-up to the ETS, ensuring environmental lobbies were onside before an announcement that did little for them.
This is a strategy for short-term success. But it mistakes politics for policy - and sooner or later leads to disaster… The problem is that politicians obsessed with image end up assessing every decision according to its short-term popularity. Apart from action on the financial crisis, it is hard to identify any of Mr Rudd’s policies not designed to please absolutely everybody. And yesterday he played to the press gallery and environmental lobby with his ETS. The Prime Minister loves the spotlight and is a master of disguising policy problems with smoke and solar panels. But legerdemain is no substitute for policy-based legislation.
World still cooling
April update: the world continues to cool:
Lord Nigel Lawson gives Sir Nicholas Stern’s latest alarmist book and “discredited” theories an almighty whack. Here’s just a taste:
Even the media are blamed (by Stern) for giving ‘similar time to scientists and deniers of the science, when the balance of argument in logic and evidence is 99 (or more) to 1, not 50-50’.
In fact, the media give far from equal time to the two sides in this debate. As I know from my own experience, it is virtually impossible for a dissenting voice to be given a hearing on any flagship BBC programme, either on radio or on television. But what is truly mind-boggling is Stern’s assertion, without adducing a scrap of supporting evidence, that informed opinion is 99 per cent (or more) on his side. The most thorough survey of the views of climate scientists was conducted by Dr Dennis Bray, a social scientist, and Professor Hans von Storch of the Meteorological Institute at Hamburg University, and published in 2007. Asked whether they agreed with the proposition that ‘climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic [ie man-made] causes’, 66 per cent agreed, of whom 38 per cent ‘strongly agreed’. In other words, a majority well short of Stern’s 99 per cent agreed, and only a minority ‘strongly agreed’.
Moreover, when they were asked what they felt to be ‘the most pressing issue facing humanity today’, which Stern asserts is climate change caused by global warming, only 8 per cent of them placed this first. So it would be closer to the truth to say that probably at least 90 per cent of informed opinion disagrees, one way or another, with Stern’s crude alarmism.
Why is the UN secretary general telling such alarmist whoppers about polar ice?
Your finances, in his hands
Terry McCrann on the Victorian budget:
IS John Brumby the new Joan Kirner - the Labor premier who sent state debt soaring and lost our triple-A credit rating?
The Budget reveals that net state debt will explode from less than $4 billion a year ago to over $31 billion by 2013. Indeed eerily, that’s almost exactly the same figure as in 1992 when we lost the rating.
The state economy and Budget revenues are now much bigger. (But)… these numbers assume the Budget and the economy stick to the relatively optimistic script. That tax revenues grow with a stronger economy. That spending doesn’t blow out.
I wouldn’t be so sure.
Further, we now live in a world that’s extremely nervous of debt. We would get thumped long before we reached 1992 levels. Most critically we no longer have the electricity industry to flog off to foreigners - and to pay off almost all the 1992 debt in one stroke.
It doesn’t help that the surplus claimed for the 2009-10 year by Treasurer John Lenders is an accounting fiction… The reason, as the shadow treasurer Kim Wells pointed out, is a big cheque from Kevin Rudd. He’s not only put “cheques in the mail” to you but to state governments as well… Without those cheques, the state Budget would have plunged $1 billion into the red and stayed there…
Now the Budget meets one of my tests. The new spending is broadly well directed—into both economic infrastructure like rail and social infrastructure like hospitals. But not, again as expected, into new dams or power stations. And what happens when the money tap from Canberra is turned off?
I thought the Victorian Opposition Leader’s question was a serious one that needed a serious answer:
Ted Baillieu: Thank you Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Will the Premier rule out going further into debt in next year’s Budget, or does the Government plan to increase debt even further as this house of cards Budget collapses and Victorians are condemned to repay Labor debt for the next 50 years?
Now wade through the five minute response to see if you can detect an answer - or any sign of intelligent life:
No deficit of spending under Rudd
So why make new spending committments in the past six months of more than $100 billion - and announce a $300 billion defence plan?
Worse and worse:
TREASURER Wayne Swan has been unable to say when the Budget will return to surplus, refusing to confirm figures from government sources that Australians would see a balanced budget in 2015-16.
When will Rudd’s spinners act?
A competition: now that the Prime Minister has delayed his emissions trading scheme, how long before his spinners scrub this claim from his web site?
The cost of inaction on climate change will be much greater than the cost of taking action now.
More money, less water
A new dam is banned, but the Victorian Government’s “green” alternatives are leaking like a sieve:
Finding extra water by upgrading irrigation networks in northern Victoria has become the Government’s preferred method of improving environmental flows and supplying Melbourne through the north-south pipeline.
Yesterday’s budget papers (showed that) ... water savings already realised this financial year were forecast to be 60 billion litres lower than the target of 429 billion litres. For upgrade projects still under way, the forecast savings for this financial year were about 50 million litres lower than the target.
How the Republican Party Can Make a Comeback
By Bill O'Reilly
Right now the Democratic Party holds almost all the cards, as you know. If President Obama is successful turning the economy around, the Dems may become even more dominant in the years to come.
That scenario is not really healthy for the USA, as a vibrant two-party system is needed in order to solve complex problems and prevent the arrogance and corruption of entrenched ideology.
The problem is the Republican Party is in disarray. The Democrats have succeeded in defining the GOP as the party of "no." That is a simple but powerful message.
If Republicans oppose gay marriage, they must articulate a strong, logical reason to successfully shoot down the bigot label that the far left heaps upon them. If conservatives want strict immigration laws, they must say exactly how that would benefit all Americans, or risk losing many Hispanic-American votes.
You just can't oppose. You have to engage.
The Republicans are also missing the one huge opportunity the Democrats are giving them. The loudest voices for the Dems are far-left loons who believe America is a flawed nation.
Here's a good example. The other day, a birthday party concert was held for left-wing singer Pete Seeger, who is 90 years old. Bruce Springsteen among others performed at the concert and then he popped off as he often does:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE SPRINSTEEN, SINGER: At 90, he remains a stealth dagger through the heart of our country's illusions. He sings all the verses, all the time — especially the ones that we'd like to leave out of our history as people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
That's right, Bruce. We all have false illusions that America is a noble nation, a country that has freed billions of people all over the world at great cost. A country that provides so much opportunity to the poor, that more than 20 million folks have illegally entered the USA.
Do you get that, Bruce? Why don't you take a look at your mansion, nice car, expensive comforts and get a little perspective. You're a working-class guy, right, Bruce? Capitalism combined with your talent has made you a wealthy guy. It would not have happened in Venezuela.
Now, Bruce Springsteen is not exactly a PhD in political science, but his snide reference to America defines how the far left sees this country. And do you know what? Most liberal and conservative Americans disagree with him!
So let me spell this out so that even the Republican leadership can understand it. Get solutions to problems, explain your culture war positions clearly and without spite, and most importantly, stick up for America, because the Democrats are certainly not doing that. Use that strategy, GOP, and you'll get back in the game.
'Special Report' Panel on Israeli-Palestinian Relations
This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Bret Baier" from May 5, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
BRET BAIER, "SPECIAL REPORT" HOST: So what about the latest moves from this administration when it comes to Israel, to the Palestinians, and to Israel's concerns and potential action in regards to Iran?
Let's bring in our panel, Juan Williams, News analyst for National Public Radio, Nina Easton, Washington Bureau Chief of "Fortune Magazine," and syndicated Charles Krauthammer — Charles?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, I think this argument over a two-state solution is a complete red herring.
There is no Israeli government, including Netanyahu's government, that would not accept a settlement in which a real Palestinian state genuinely accepted a settlement that ends the war with Israel and recognizes a Jewish state.
The problem is such a partner doesn't exist and hasn't existed ever. For the last nine years, you've had in Israel under Sharon and Olmert governments which accepted a two-state solution, have engaged in negotiations, and have essentially offered what Israel offered nine years ago under Ehud Barack, who's now the defense minister, with Bill Clinton assisting in that offer of a Palestinian state and a settlement in perpetuity with Israel.
The Palestinians rejected it at the time. They have rejected it ever since, which is why all the negotiations over the last eight years have failed. It's never been the Israeli problem. It's been the fact that the Palestinians will not accept a Jewish state.
Look, the Palestinians already have a state. It's called the Gaza. It's independent. There are no Israelis in Gaza. It's a terrorist straight that has been at war with Israel ever since the day the Israelis left. It's an ally of Iran and Islamic radicalism.
The Israelis and Americans understand that if you have a Palestinian state of that sort in the rest of Palestine, it will be a catastrophe.
And what Israel is saying today is unless you talk about what kind of Palestinian state, that it can't be a Gaza state. It has to be a state that accepts Israel and accepts the peace, all talk of a two-state solution is irrelevant and is headed nowhere.
BAIER: What about, Nina, how this administration is positioning this ahead of Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit in two weeks?
NINA EASTON, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Well, I think Charles is right. The focus here is how to make progress with the Israelis with Netanyahu's government, which has resisted embracing the two-state solution.
But as we saw, AIPAC, that lobby group, applauded Joe Biden today when he said stop building settlements. AIPAC lobbyists went up to the Hill to get members of Congress to sign a letter saying "We want a two- state solution."
So Israel, despite some resistance from the prime minister, is not really the problem. The problem — but I do think the Obama administration can create this illusion of progress in the coming weeks, as the prime minister's visit comes up, so it will look like there's progress.
But Charles is right. Long term, you need to find, you know, moderate Palestinian force enough to actually support it and renounce violence against Israel.
JUAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: Well, I mean, obviously you need a group of Palestinians who are willing to acknowledge that Israel has a right to exist.
But at the moment, the problem is that any kind of moderate force in Palestinian life is being forced to extremist proportions. I mean, the extremists always dominate.
Now, why is this? Well, don't forget, Israel is an occupying force. Don't forget, when Vice President Biden talks about settlements, when he talks about outposts, when he talks about the need for allowing Palestinians more freedoms, he is speaking to things that are aggravating the situation that are in Israel's control.
Then you have in Israel have a conservative government take control, and Netanyahu send out suggestions — Peres says it's not true, but everybody around town has been hearing that Netanyahu is backing off of this two-state solution and looking towards what he's described as a more political and security track, which suggests they want to get tough, that they think that there is progress to be made by getting tough with the Palestinians.
It's not apparent to the White House, I can tell you.
KRAUTHAMMER: Juan, if the problem is Israeli settlements and occupation and this oppression, why is it that when Israel made an offer that was witnessed by the United States at Camp David in the year 2000 to end all occupations, remove all settlers, and have a peace, it was rejected by the Palestinians.
They did not even have a counteroffer, and six weeks later, they started a terror war against Israel?
WILLIAMS: Well, I think you have to go back to players like Yasser Arafat, and the fact that people, I think, were, insincere, Charles. I think they were corrupt. And, again, I think they're governed by extremists.
So the question is, re you going to live in the past and back in those negotiations, or are you are going to try to go forward and say we are making a sincere effort?
KRAUTHAMMER: Let's live in the present. And who among the Palestinians would accept this same offer today? And the answer is no one.
WILLIAMS: We don't know. But if you want to give up — you can't give up before your start the negotiations.
KRAUTHAMMER: Edward Olmert offered it over and over again over the last three years, and he got a "no." That's why we don't have a peace today.
BAIER: President Obama is trying to overcome resistance in his own party to his lack of plans for Guantanamo Bay, his current plans for dealing with global warming, and the other things. The panel weighs in on that after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NEIL ABERCROMBIE, (D) HAWAII: We're not here today providing an alternative to the activities now taking place in the energy committee, which have essentially stalled, stalled to the point that the president himself had to come to Capitol Hill today to speak with the Energy Committee members to see if they can advance what is, at best, a peripheral aspect of dealing with the whole question of dealing with alternative energy and climate change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: The president didn't actually go to Capitol Hill. House Democrats, many of them, went to the White House, the president trying to quell a revolt over climate change legislation, and made an adjustment, had to back off the centerpiece of his plan, a tax on 100 percent of emissions beginning in 2012.
Then you have the Gitmo issue. You have Representative David Obey saying "I personally favor what the administration is doing on Guantanamo Bay, but there's not a concrete program. And, basically, we're not going to give the administration money to close Gitmo until there is a program.
So what about this? Is it a problem?
We're back with the problem — Juan?
WILLIAMS: What you're seeing is, this is a very interesting moment in terms of Washington politics. These aren't Republicans that are bucking the president. These are Democrats.
And I think you are seeing now Democrats, especially Democrats with regional interests that are at variance from the administration policy, becoming louder voices.
But, you know, Obey is interesting one. He is also saying that when it comes to Afghanistan, he gives the president about a year. On Gitmo, he's demanding, and I think this is extremely rational, I don't know how you can disagree with it, give me a plan for how you are going to go about closing Guantanamo Bay. Are you are going to bring those people to the United States? Is that what you're suggesting? Let's have a discussion.
And the Obama administration doesn't have a plan. Therefore, he is going to be an obstacle, and he's a fellow Democrat.
EASTON: I think he has got a problem both on the left and the right, or center of his party. On the left, on the Gitmo issue, he doesn't have a plan. The lefty blogs now are raising concerns about whether he is really going to close Gitmo when he said he was going to close it.
Secondly, he did this other — made this other decision last week where he said — where the word was that he is possibly going to turn to military commissions to prosecute some of these prisoners, which is — just really sent the left ballistic.
And on the center side, I mean it was no secret that this cap and trade was going to be a problem, and the Senate already resisted it.
And I thought it was kind of a strange decision on the White House's part to punt this, once again, to take a major policy like this and punt it to the two most liberal members of the House, Ed Markey and Henry Waxman, and let them — and liberal coast members, not rust belt people. And they didn't bring those people into the process.
BAIER: If you want to hear what Charles has to say on this topic, stay tuned. You may you noticed the panel segments are a little different tonight. We're making room, more room for the panel. We're starting earlier, continuing our discussions.
More on this topic after the break.
BAIER: Continuing our discussion about the administration working with House democrat and getting some pushback. We're back with the panel — Charles?
KRAUTHAMMER: I'm happy, I'm even honored to inaugurate the extra panel segment.
On Guantanamo, it isn't often that in Washington you get to actually witness poetic, but this is a perfect example. Obama has grandstanded on this for a year and a half. He basked in the applause. He's in Europe, he attacks Guantanamo. He promises he will close it. And of course, he loves the warm reception.
The problem was it was never an issue of geography. It was always an issue of policy and principle. What do you do with Khalid Sheik Mohammed, whom cannot release, no ally will take, who you cannot have in federal court because he was not read his Miranda rights, but that you're going to have to hold onto.
And the reason there's all of this anger and pushback in Congress is because he is going to have to end up on American soil. That's inevitable.
I would say, you know, unless the British will give us St. Helena, or the Italians will give us Elba, and I think he may seriously end up on a Hawaiian island. I'm serious about this — perhaps a leper colony, one of those evacuated leper colonies.
You want to have them outside the contiguous 48 in a place in which if he escapes, he actually has to paddle, and where you are going to have, as Nina indicated, military commissions.
You cannot have him in federal court. And it's nice to see Obama have to eat crow on the commissions, because there is no other way to try him in which he is not going to end up released as innocent.
BAIER: Maybe Alcatraz, in the House speaker's backyard.
KRAUTHAMMER: Excellent, in San Francisco. And the view is excellent, I am told.
EASTON: And it's not far away from the ACLU offices if he needed some assistance —
KRAUTHAMMER: There are sharks in the water offshore, as well.
BAIER: I know you wanted to circle around to cap and trade.
EASTON: Well, just again, this is one of those cases, just like Charles is talking about with Gitmo, where leading and governing is so much more difficult and complex than actually running for president.
And in this place, cap and trade is a situation where you're going to be reorganizing the entire energy economy. It's huge, and there's going to be a lot of losers as well as winners.
And we focused on some of those — the regional players who are going to be hurt, the factories, the consumers, and so on.
But I think what hasn't been focused on enough yet, and what will come into focus, is that it will have a broader impact of hurt on people in that in order to ease the pain, they will have to spend more money in subsidies both to consumers and factories, and that is going to mean it's going be more expensive.
And that raises the prospect of tax hikes down the road.
And, I think, again, these are very politically dangerous waters to walk into.
And I thought it is interesting that Chris Van Hollen, the congressman who is running the political campaign for the Democratic House members, sees the political costs in some of this. And he's one of the people that was resisting raising —
WILLIAMS: That's only if it does not get through in the Senate.
And so —
BAIER: Does it get through? Quickly.
WILLIAMS: I don't know it at this point. But what you are seeing is you are seeding the field in the House. And that's why Henry Waxman is upset with Chris Van Hollen.
But, again, it's all among Democrats.
KRAUTHAMMER: It doesn't have a chance in the Senate.
Obama Plucking Tree of Liberty Bare
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," May 5, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Now tonight we bring you a special first segment of the show in lieu of our usual "Hannity Headline."
In 1765 parliament passed the Stamp Pact provoking outrage among the American colonists. Now the leaders of the tax uprising were the Sons of Liberty who met in August of 1765 under an old elm tree in Boston to air their grievances against the tyrannical King George.
The Sons of Liberty will become an early voice for the rights of an oppressed citizenry and included some familiar names from the annals of American history including Paul Revere, Patrick Henry, John Hancock and John Adams.
At the end of that first protest in 1765 the Sons of Liberty hung two tax collectors in effigy from the branches of elm and from that day forward it became known as the Liberty Tree.
The tree became a symbol for the Colonial Revolutionaries and similar trees were planted in cities all across the colonies. The last original Liberty Tree stood until 10 years ago on the campus of St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland. Under it, colonists held a tea party and listened to the words of founding father Samuel Chase.
But after being damaged by Hurricane Floyd in 1999, the 400-year-old tulip poplar suffered too much damage and was taken down. Two years ago, the graduating class of the college planted a new tulip poplar in its honor.
Therefore, in the spirit of our founding fathers, with our liberties once again threatened, we introduce our own Liberty Tree. Now as you can see, our tree is built upon the roots of life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, and freedom. They support the trunk of the tree which is made of we the people. And the trunk supports the branches and the fruits of our liberty represented by the apples.
It is those apples, the fruits of our liberty, that this administration is now picking clean. So what are those fruits? Now in 1789, Thomas Jefferson famously said, quote, "It is a great truth that industry, commerce, and security are the surest roads to the happiness and prosperity of a people."
And as you can see, on our Liberty Tree, well, industry, commerce, and security are all represented as apples. The fruits of our liberty.
Let's start with industry. This administration has started down a dangerous road of stifling industry through expanded government control. In effect, nationalizing the banking industry.
The president has said that he doesn't want to run General Motors or keep government control of the banks. But that's exactly what has happened with the firing of the CEO of General Motors and the bullying of Chrysler investors to accept pennies on the dollar because it is, quote, "in the national interest."
This administration is ignoring established precedents of bankruptcy law. They are forcing TARP money down the throats of banks by not allowing them to pay the money back. And we haven't even gotten to their proposed cap- and-trade law yet which now even Democrats are shying away from.
During the campaign, the president threatened to raise capital gains tax rates. Just yesterday, standing next to his own tax cheating treasury secretary, he promised to crack down on corporate tax loopholes. Now tax experts say that such a move will force American companies to move overseas, unless it is accompanied by a reduction in corporate tax rates.
But that seems unlikely. And all the while the unemployment rate continues to rise, despite the administration's promise to save or create three million new jobs by the end of this year by passing the so-called stimulus package. And some major cities in this country, unemployment is now more than 10 percent.
As such, the industry apple as a fruit of our liberty has fallen from the tree.
Next, Mr. Jefferson says commerce is important to the prosperity of the nation. Well, since the early days of the campaign, Obama has railed against the North American Free Trade Agreement. Threatening to reopen it to take into account new labor and environmental provisions that he's spoken openly about in his opposition to the Bush administration.
And their free trade agreements with Colombia and South Korea. When China reportedly considered pushing for a single global currency, the president said he opposed it. Only to have his own treasury secretary leave that door open, sending our dollar into a freefall in one afternoon.
Here at home, the president has promised to focus on preserving and creating jobs which provided the rationalization for his massive government expansion. In his first 100 days this administration has racked up more debt than all previous presidents combined.
They have spent billions on massive infrastructure projects that up until they joined the administration in January, his own economic advisors like OMB director Peter Orszag said wouldn't be a stimulative move for the economy at all.
And remember how the president used to oppose earmarks?
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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: My recovery and reinvestment plan will have — will set a new higher standard of accountability, transparency and oversight. We are going to ban all earmarks. The process by which individual members insert pet projects without review.
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HANNITY: He then turned around and signed an omnibus spending bill with more ear remarks than anyone could count. Racking up more money on the nation's credit card. If commerce is vital to the nation's prosperity, this can't be what Mr. Jefferson had in mind when he said, quote, "We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty or profusion and servitude."
And kabluey, there goes the commerce apple from the tree leaving only security. And as you can see our security under this administration, well, it's hanging by a thread. But at least President Obama has made a new friend. The man who attacks the very promise of American life with every breath that he can muster.
Meanwhile, the mullahs in Iran continue to move forward with their nuclear agenda while we hope that they're going to come back to the table to talk to us about it all. Clearly they are quaking in their boots because just this weekend the Iranians attacked a village inside of Iraq. Their first such attack since the U.S. invasion in 2003.
Well, that sure makes me feel more secure. As does the situation along the Mexican border where drug cartels are murdering innocent people and increasingly spreading their violence to cities right here in America. While our own secretary of homeland security spent the first month of her time in office denying that anything was happening here at home.
We're going to have a special report on this tomorrow night including some frightening video of a home invasion in Arizona. Now it's a segment that every citizen who fears for their safety needs to see.
And then of course there are the Islamic terrorists. Some of whom he caught and stuck in Gitmo. Well, they now could be headed home. Others who are still out there might have a new purpose after reading the CIA's formerly top-secret memos that this administration decided to release.
And faced with such a threat, the security apple falls from the Liberty Tree. And what we are left with is the collective crate of socialism. Now home to the fruit of liberty that our freedom was supposed to guarantee.
Now this administration has plucked a Tree of Liberty bare. It took more than 200 years but it now looks like we are headed back to where we started.